10 June 2021
Summary:Since lockdown restrictions were first introduced, our Money Advice Team have supported 2,227 residents with benefits, budgeting advice, and help meeting essential costs such as heating bills.
The coronavirus pandemic has put many families across the country into difficult financial circumstances, exposing existing vulnerabilities such as food insecurity and fuel poverty. At MTVH, this is something we’ve witnessed first-hand. With referrals to our Money Advice Team increasing by 45%, we have supported our residents to secure £689,000 of additional income.
We understand that families will continue to struggle as a result of the pandemic for months to come, and we’re working hard to provide the long-term, sustainable support they need at this time. Since lockdown restrictions were first introduced, we have supported 2,227 residents with benefits and budgeting advice, and help with meeting essential costs such as heating bills.
One MTVH resident to we supported was Jane*, a single parent from South Derbyshire who had been struggling to afford food and electricity top-ups since the first lockdown. The closure of schools meant that Jane and her children were using more of these resources at home, which was having a huge impact on their family finances. Jane also had rent arrears, unaffordable utility bills and was borrowing money from doorstop lenders to pay for her car insurance.
In May 2020, Jane was put in touch with Resident Connector, Sarah Skidmore, for support. To address her immediate needs, Sarah arranged for Jane to receive digital food and fuel vouchers and made a referral to local charity South Derbyshire Community Volunteer Services. to arrange weekly food parcel deliveries. In readiness for the summer holidays, Sarah also supported Jane to secure £180 worth of school holiday vouchers and a weekly hot meal for her family on a Friday.
It quickly became clear to Sarah that Jane was facing a number of financial challenges that would require longer-term support. With the pandemic exacerbating existing inequalities, this is something we’ve seen across our communities and is the reason our Money Advice team has proved so vital during this time.
Using MTVH’s Empowering Futures Fund, Sarah supported Jane to move onto a monthly payment policy for her car insurance, allowing her to keep her car and maintain her independence. She also made an internal referral to MTVH Money Advisor, David Wright, who supported Jane with her rent arrears, successfully reducing them by £2336.87 with a combination of awards from the Department for Work and Pensions and MTVH Tenant Welfare Fund. Jane had been struggling with her arrears repayments since before the pandemic and this put her account in credit for the first time in a long time.
Through joint-working, David and Sarah have supported Jane to get back on her feet. They had weekly catch-up meetings where they made plans for how they could provide tailored, sustainable support to Jane and her family, and checked that things were continuing to move in the right direction. Now that Jane’s rent account is in credit, she has been able to register to Derby Homefinder & Homeswapper and is looking to move out of the area for a fresh start. David and Sarah remain in contact with Jane, should she need any further support, but her family are in a much better position now and looking forward to the future.
Commenting on the support Sarah provided her, she said:
“MTVH have gone ‘above and beyond’ for my family in times of desperation. You have been an amazing team working together for me. I didn’t think there was any way out of the situation I was in, but I’m now in a much better place.”
Contact us for support
If you are an MTVH resident or customer and you are worried about your financial situation, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss the support we are able to provide. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Not her real name